CDX2 versus nDAC


I currently have CDX2.1 with XPS and it sounds excellent


What about nDAC + XPS (I realise my CDX2 can’t be used as a transport)

The reason for my question is that if one day my CDX2 dies and can’t be repaired, I still need to play CDs. As I have the XPS already then a used nDAC plus an-other CD transport might be my best solution and maybe even an upgrade…

I gather the DAC chip in the nDAC is quite high end so would hope this would be a very viable solution.

It will work very nicely!
And you can also stream to it.

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I’ve owned a CDX2.2 and I still own an NDac currently being used with a 555DR power supply. I couldn’t resist experimenting with the various combinations, so I can maybe answer your question.

CDX2.2 raw is a bit crude but with lots of drive. Add the power supply and it gets a bit more soul and finesse. Substitute the PS for an NDac and things start to get more interesting, much more colourful and musical. Connect the 555PS to the NDac and it all jumps to another level. Micro dynamics, realism and the famous Naim musicality in floods!

If anything I found that the CDX2 has a tendency to lean towards jazz and rock as its forte, so it has its place in the old Naim CD line-up. Trouble is, stick in a CDP555 and you see what the CDX2 misses!

Definitely keep the NDac - I still have mine and controls all my digital stuff!


All depends of the budget, and also if you would like to replace your Cdx2 by a pure cd transport or by server/ ripper or a streamer.
For instance you can have an Audiolab or Cyrus cd transport into Ndac/xps.
Or buy a Naim Uniticore ( server and ripper, which can store cd rips or downloads) connected to the Ndac.
Or buy a streamer like the Ndx2, powered by an XPS.
The cheapest = Audiolab ( good reputation here). The most expensive = Ndx2.

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You obviously have an early CDX2 without the switchable digital output. If you like what the NDAC does, you have the option of getting your CDX2 converted to digital out and using it as a transport. Unfortunately this mod doesn’t allow you to switch between analogue and digital out so you need to be sure that it’s the right choice before you commit.

An NDS would be a very good option, especially with a 555PS. You can have all your CDs on a hardrive and the streamer can read them all. You can also then get benefit of iRadio and Spotify and possibly Tidal although the Tidal option never works with my NDS.

Newer streamers are alot better with Tidal and Qobuz so NDX2 would be ideal but doesnt sound as good as NDS IMHO.

The Ndac is good but I reckon NDS a fair bit better.

For the price an Ndac will be great. Good luck with your decision!


Thanks for the insights. I hadn’t considered a Naim streamer as a DAC but any option that allows the XPS to carry on doing its good work is certainly worth thinking about.

I’m a die hard physical media guy though so currently not a big fan of renting my music by subscription.

I auditioned a CDX2 vs NDac back in 2011 using a USB stick for the comparison to the CD. It was a no contest in my mind…I bought the Ndac. I streamed from a (modified) PC before changing Ndac to an NDS around 2018 which also bought an improvement

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I started with a CDX+XPS, then acquired a Allo streamer (Raspberry Pi based), with music stored as flac files on a NAS, and with a cheap DAC.

Then I acquired an nDAC, and moved the XPS to it. It is a thing of beauty - and as has been reported - does appear to get “better” as the digital source is “improved”.

The nDAC SQ was “much darker” than the CDX, and at first, I was unsure whether I Iiked it, but eventually came round, and sticking the XPS on it certainly helped.

The CDX doesn’t get a lot of use these days, but I’m on the look out for a CD5 XS, because the latter (like the CDX2.2) has an SPDI/F output, and the nDAC currently has three unused inputs.

Also on my “to do” list is to haul out my old Meridian 200 transport, and try running that into the nDAC/XPS.


Our nDAC/555PSDR sounded excellent when driven by a late 90s Micromega CD transport (itself expensive at the time). The nDAC really responds well to a good quality digital source.


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